The Milwaukee Bucks never came out on the court to play against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday for Game 5 of their seven-game first-round playoff series, protesting Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Bucks’ decision led NBA to postpone all Wednesday’s playoff games, as players of other teams had declared that they would not play.
Blake, a 29-year-old black man was shot several dozen miles from the Bucks training facility. The Milwaukee team decided to become the first to boycott the NBA playoffs in protest of police violence, injustice and racial inequality. The postponement of all Wednesday’s playoff games followed the team’s protest act, as players of other teams refused to play.
The Milwaukee Bucks issued a statement protesting the shooting of Blake, demanding police brutality against African Americans to stop, and call for police accountability, justice and equality.
Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: pic.twitter.com/jjGEyVcCmB
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
Former president Barack Obama saluted the Bucks act on Twitter: “I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values.”
Blake is now paralyzed, family attorney Benjamin Crump said Tuesday, according to CBS. Blake is currently undergoing surgery and is “struggling to sustain his life,” Crump added.
The shooting sparked protests that led to two nights of violent riots and looting in Kenosha.
During the riots, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday and charged with first degree homicide after shooting three protesters with an AR-15, killing two and injuring one. Rittenhouse was among armed militia who traveled to Kenosha to protect businesses among unrest.